ECHL Series Preview: Maine Mariners at Worcester Railers 02/09-02/10/2024

Photo: Rich Leblanc | Inside The Rink

Coming off a Sunday afternoon win against the Rapid City Rush, the Maine Mariners are headed to Worcester to face the Worcester Railers Friday and Saturday night at the DCU Center. The Railers are currently at #4 in the North Division standing, two spots ahead of Maine. Despite this, only four points separate the teams. At the last matchup between these two teams on January 7th, Maine came out on top in a 4-2 victory in Portland. Mariners’ #23 Alex Kile, who has just recently returned to Maine after a brief call-up to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL, scored two of the four goals for the team in this game. The last time the Mariners played in Worcester was in late December for a set of two games, one on Saturday the 23rd and the other on Wednesday the 27th. The Mainers fell 6-3 on Saturday and again on Wednesday 5-4 in overtime. Kile scored a goal on each of these nights for the Mariners, proving that he is a great presence on the ice, especially when playing Worcester. There has only been one other matchup between these two teams so far this year, which was back in November in Worcester. Maine was able to grab a win in this game with a score of 3-2, grabbing the first three goals of the game and only allowing the Railers to score twice in the third period. 

Some notable transactions have taken place for the Mariners since their last matchup with the Railers. This includes Reid Stefanson and Darien Kielb leaving the team to pursue careers in Europe, as well as the signing of former Mariners player Zach Malatesta. Recently, for the Railers, forward Blade Jenkins has been named the ECHL Player of the Week for January 29th to February 4th. The Railers have also recently signed goalie Cole Ceci, who was a part of the Mariners preseason roster and was released by the team in mid-November. Ceci seems to have filled the spot of Josh Boyko, also a former goalie of the Mariners, as he was traded to the Atlanta Gladiators

Out of the four games played against each other so far, both the Mariners and the Railers have skated away with two wins. Also playing both Friday and Saturday are the Troi-Rivières Lions and the Norfolk Admirals. The Lions are only one spot ahead of Maine in the North Division standings at 5th place, and they are only one point ahead with 42 points in total. In contrast, the Admirals are in 2nd place with 50 points. If the weekend plays out in the Mariners’ favor, perhaps they can find themselves passing the Lions and taking the 5th place spot.

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